Vancouver Pride Statement On Black Lives Matter

The Vancouver Pride Society, like many organizations, has been spending much time in the last week talking about how to reflect our community more effectively. We are deeply committed to understanding our role in creating safer spaces for trans people, Indigenous communities and people of colour through the Pride season and throughout the year. Although we have taken a number of steps to make positive change, we acknowledge we have more work to do to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome at our events. That is why we continue to reach out to groups that reflect these populations with the intention of honest and respectful dialogue regarding inclusion, belonging, cultural safety and how individuals who experience intersectionality are included with more intention in the Vancouver Pride Society and our events. This includes reaching out to Black Lives Matter Vancouver after the Toronto Pride Parade.

We also know that our events like the Pride Parade, Pride Festival and Davie Street Block Party would not be possible without the support of our partners, including law enforcement. Vancouver Pride has not had requests from any organization to see police excluded from our events and we will continue working with police to educate and include them in ways that are appropriate. We understand that this may create barriers for some members of our community who feel they cannot access our events. We will continue to encourage and support meaningful dialogue between police and all parts of our community.

As an organization, Vancouver Pride believes Pride is not only a celebration. It is political and it is a protest. That is why we are so proud of our Trans Equality Now campaign, and continue to make that a requirement for entries into our parade. This is our way of making sure that everyone who watches the parade knows the organizations they see represented support equal protections under the law for transgender people. That is why we support other organizations that continue to call for better treatment of vulnerable and underserved communities.

Criticism is a gift that offers an opportunity to do better for our organization and our community. We have heard concerns about about Pride’s inclusiveness and diversity; we see those comments as such an opportunity. In the coming months Pride looks forward to respectful dialogue with other organizations and the broader community to work to address these issues. We can and will do better together.